A gender gap has opened up in how many Democrats like Kamala Harris

November 10, 2021, 5:04 PM UTC

There is a gender gap in Economist/YouGov Polls when it comes to opinion about Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Harris, the first woman to serve as vice president, is less well-liked than President Joe Biden by Americans nationally. That gap is evident among Independents and Democrats. Biden is liked by 81% of Democrats, compared to 69% who like Harris, according to a recent poll. One-third of Independents (32%) like Biden as a person, compared to 23% for Harris.

That disparity largely comes from a gender gap among Democratic women and men that exists for Harris but not Biden. About three-quarters of Democratic women (73%) say that they like Harris as a person, compared to 63% of Democratic men.

For Biden, the gap is within a standard polling error: 83% of Democratic women and 79% of Democratic men say they like him as a person.

For Independents, there is less of a difference in opinion by gender between Harris and Biden. Independent women are 14 percentage points more likely than Independent men to like Harris, as well as 13 points more likely than Independent men to like Biden. 

Other women who ran for or held higher office also have faced a gender gap in support. Hillary Clinton received a smaller share of men’s votes than of women’s in the 2016 presidential election, for a gender gap that was greater than any other election since 1972 — including Biden’s.

Democrats’ gender disparity in liking Harris has emerged since she took office as vice president. In October 2020, before the presidential election, 73% of Democratic men and 76% of Democratic women liked Harris. Now the share of Democratic women who say they like Harris is about the same, while the share of men who say they like her has dropped.

There is less of a difference when it comes to whether or not Americans think Harris is qualified to be vice president. More than 80% of Democratic men and of Democratic women believe she is. 

There is one characteristic where Harris outperforms Biden in this poll and in earlier ones: More Democrats call her a strong leader than describe Biden that way. Democratic women are more likely to see the president and vice president as strong leaders than are Democratic men; the gender gap is greater for Harris.

Kamala Harris and Democratic Candidates

The gender gap when it comes to Harris’s strength of leadership is larger than the gender gap for the president on this question. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between October 24 - 26, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty